Harwood-Father And Child

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When comparing the two sections that make up “Father and Child– by Gwen Harwood, we discover that they portray the changing perspectives and understandings of a young child maturing. The structure of the poem represents a passing of time and changing and maturing understanding of death but the common structure, rhyme pattern and characters also stress the commonality. The graphic imagery used in the poem and the use of aural metaphors, add to the overall appeal of the poem. “Barn Owl”, the first part of the poem; begins the journey of understanding for the young child, depicting a graphic lesson of life and death learned. The use of the metaphor “Master of life and death, a wisp haired judge.” illustrates the power the child holds in her hands, in the form of a gun. The child aims for the owl and shoots it, and as a result the child’s perception of death dramatically changes from “clean and final” to, through the use of graphic imagery and alliteration, (dropped and dribbled), a tragedy of prolonged pain and suffering. Harwood has achieved this by the use of a long and evocative description of death. The poem follows a strict metre, 6 syllables, and rhyme method but as "my first shot struck", the rhythm is destroyed as short and abrupt as the gunshot itself, it represents the destruction of the bird's life and the child's youth and innocence. The father, authority figure only speaks once in the poem; “End what you have begun” This changes the child’s understanding of the responsibilities associated with power and the consequences of the misuse of this power and it is also realised that once your innocence is lost there’s no turning back. The second part of the poem “Nightfall” continues the story of the child forty years from ’Barn Owl– and is written in the form of an ode. The poem represents death closing in on the father, and the limitations of time on

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